On Sunday afternoon, 20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot and killed by police officer Kim Potter during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, just miles from where George Floyd was killed last year. According to The Washington Post, the police pulled Wright over because an air freshener was allegedly blocking his rearview mirror—a claim his father, Aubrey Wright, questioned because the vehicle had tinted windows. An officer reportedly determined there was an outstanding warrant for Wright and tried to arrest him at which point, according to the police, he got back into his car and Potter shot him. During a news conference on Monday, Brooklyn Center police chief Tim Gannon said that, based on body-camera footage, he believes Potter intended to “deploy [her] Taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet.”
Obviously there are many questions that need to be answered here, including the one re: how it’s possible anyone, let alone a 26-year veteran of the police force, as Potter is, could confuse a Taser with an actual gun. One thing we know all too well is that violent encounters with police “represent significant causes of injury and death in the United States, particularly for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color,” according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, Yale University, and Drexel University, and that police shootings of unarmed Black people in the U.S. were three times higher than those of their white counterparts between 2015 and early 2020. Ask Fox News, though, and the real person we should feel sympathy for is Potter, while Wright really has only himself to blame for being shot.
On Monday, Fox News host Martha MacCallum insisted that viewers “think about [Potter] as well today, because that officer’s life is forever changed by this, what is being referred to as an accident.” After an emotional Geraldo Rivera, somehow acting as the voice of reason, said that he wants “a situation where Black mothers don’t have to fear the cops more than they fear the crooks when their kids go out,” and that “it is a situation that is absolutely intolerable,” MacCallum maintained that no one should be jumping to any conclusions here. “I just want to point out,” she said, “We need to allow the process to play out, we need to know what was going on, every one of these situations is individual and unique.” Then she read off a list of Wright’s alleged past misdeeds and suggested that the officer was right to respond in the manner she did. “When you look at the circumstances here…this young man had an outstanding warrant for gross misdemeanor for carrying a pistol without a permit and a misdemeanor for fleeing the police,” MacCallum said. “The warrant [was] issued April 2, he failed to appear in court. This is likely why the officer asked him to get out of the car when they ran his license plate.”
Then she charitably offered that that “there was no reason for this to end the way [they] did,” before suggesting that Wright would be alive today if he hadn’t supposedly resisted arrest. “[His own mother] said ‘show your hands, don’t run,’ because she could hear on her cell phone someone saying to her son ‘don’t run,’ and this tragedy could have ended very differently,” MacCallum said.
Elsewhere during the show, in response to Rivera‘s statement that police brutality against Black people “has gone on too long,” that there is “too much pain and suffering,” and that “there is no doubt that Black men have a different experience when they’re stopped by cops then white men do, or when white people do,” another guest, Leo Tyrell, countered that that was “absolutely not” true. “The Ferguson case, during the Obama administration, they found that there was no racial pattern practice,” he said. “This is the type of language that will create a riot…what about the officer in New Mexico, Martha, who was shot at point blank range…we cannot make a general allegation as my colleague Geraldo said [about] shooting Black men. That is a very incendiary type of comment that will generate protests and rioting and criminal misconduct. I disagree with it.”
Other takes from the Fox News family on the shooting have included this:
On Tuesday, Potter tendered her resignation in a letter to Brooklyn Center mayor Mike Elliott and police chief Gannon, the latter of whom resigned the same day. Potter has reportedly retained the legal services of attorney Earl Gray who, coincidentally, is representing former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane, who was charged with aiding and abetting George Floyd’s death. (Lane held Floyd’s legs while Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck. Last July, a lawyer for Lane asked a judge to dismiss the abetting second-degree murder charge, claiming his client didn’t play an intentional role in the killing. Lane’s trial is set to begin August 23.)